Up and coming indie folk-rock artist, Samia, made her debut at The Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan last week. Following the release of her debut album “The Baby,” in 2020 and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, she was finally able to set out on a North American tour to promote the album and her recently released EP titled, “Scout.”

The New York City native was met with an incredibly enthusiastic crowd during the hometown show of her tour, fueling her energy on stage and evoking emotion in her performance. Backed by a band full of personality and a roaring crowd, she was able to bring the house down while playing mostly mid-to-slow tempo songs.

Samia’s performance style can only be described as electric. She dances like no one is watching, almost as if the music is flowing through her while she performs. Her vocals are strong and nearly identical to the studio version, if not better. It is clear that the songs she writes hold a lot of personal meaning to her based on the nuances and vulnerability in her voice as she sings.

An example of this was during the song “As You Are,” when Briston Maroney and opener Savannah Conley joined her on stage to sing backing vocals. The song was written as a tribute to their friendship which was evident based on the emotion they all put into the performance. It’s almost like the audience wasn’t there as they looked at each other and sang, “when somebody loves you, they take you as you are.” This was not the only time during the night that Samia nearly shed tears on stage.

Savannah Conley also gave an emotional and strong performance to open up the show. With a style reminiscent of Pheobe Bridgers, she played a range of slow-tempo original indie folk and rock songs that would often build to an emotional climax. She even included a cover of the Arctic Monkeys song “Do I Wanna Know?” which won me over instantly. Her music was similar to Samia’s but different enough to bring something new to the table, making her the perfect opener.

Not only were Samia and Conley great performers, but so was the backing band. The studio version of the song “Is There Something in the Movies?” is a delicate and dramatic ballad that is definitely a tear jerker, but the live full band version brought a whole new range of emotions into play. Keeping the delicacy of the studio version in the beginning, the band slowly builds throughout the song to a loud and powerful high point that leaves the audience not knowing whether they should cry or scream. It was my favorite part of the night by far.

I have been looking forward to seeing Samia perform for over a year since “The Baby,” was one of my top album picks of 2020, and I was not disappointed. Often times I will have such high expectations for concerts and be disappointed when I finally get around to seeing the artist, but this was not the case. Samia genuinely blew me away and I look forward to seeing her again in the future.

Best Song to Catch Live: “Is There Something in the Movies” – Samia

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